30 October 2014


The kitchen is the heartbeat of our home.  There is always something going on here.  Always a gathering of bodies, foods, projects.  Here are some of the things we've been up to during the week...

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This morning we are making a batch of pumpkin-apple butter, so I am shutting back and forth between the stove and the computer.  Which of course means I am going to fire away here without much ado.  

:: Roasting our pumpkin.  It was a small one, and I think next time I'll get bigger.  Big enough to make a pie alongside the pumpkin butter.  

:: Can't forget the seeds.  We love nuts and seeds around here.  We washed, salted and roasted these in the oven with a just a smidgen of oil.  You can leave out the oil if you wish.  

:: Turkey pot pie.  It's a challenge to use up leftovers in creative ways, but sometimes things work out awesome.  :)  It looks time consuming, but it's really so simple to throw together.

:: Ginger cake with spiced buttercream.  It's a good as it sounds.  Just a hint of sweetness - nothing like those cloyingly sweet iced cakes.  

:: Roasted chicken for dinner.  And then the carcass became the broth for some chicken soup.  Just the thing with the weather turning.  This chicken feeds us for 3-4 meals.  Two with the chicken itself and two with the soup.  (Maybe one with the just the chicken if D is ravenous.)  I add as many veggies as I can, or have on hand to our soups.  I don't know why.  I just feel that they are better.  Kids will eat almost anything in chicken noodle soup.  

:: We are really big into soups when things get chilly.  This is my (blurry) version of creamy cauliflower soup.  (Oh my but it was delicious!)  Dice an onion, then saute in a large pot until translucent.  Take a head of cauliflower, chop into small bits and pieces, wash, add to onions and saute until slightly browned.  Add chicken or vegetable stock - about 4 cups.  Let boil until cauliflower is tender.  While boiling, melt 1/4 cup butter in a saucepan.  Add 1/3-1/2 cup flour and whisk for 2 minutes.  Add 2 cups of milk and stir constantly until thickened.  Pour into big pot and stir.  Let boil, then turn off heat.  If desired, take about 100g of cheese (any kind you like) and shred it on top.  Stir until cheese has melted.  

:: Romano beans in a tomato sauce.  Kind of like stew, but vegan.  Amazing.  At least, it's a big favourite around here.  Kids love it with rice.  D loves it with salads, radishes, pickles.  

Well, that's it for this week.  Have a lovely weekend.  They're predicting snow this weekend!  :)

Joining Heather and friends for This Week In My Kitchen.  

29 October 2014

Yarn Along

Finally finished the owls.  Well, the crocheting part.  Now I have to figure out how I'm going to line them.  I have a lovely piece of pink polar lamb's fleece that should do nicely.  I have also started that Rapunzel hair.  I can't really tell if the colour I chose is my favourite.  I might try one in a nice brown.  Have to see how this one turns out.  It's a nice feeling to have a project or two to plan.  :)  

Still plugging away on The Spiritual Life.  I will probably be reading it well into the winter.  I like to savour each chapter and slowly digest it.  

Happy Wednesday!

Joining Ginny and friends for this week's Yarn Along.  

25 October 2014

Shooting beads

The other day, my three year old ran into the living room.  "Mama, I have a bead in my nose," she informed me gravely.  I, not able to keep calm the way I would have liked, repeated, using much higher pitch and volume, "You have a BEAD in your nose!?"  "Yes," she replied simply.  

This, my friends was how it started.  It ended with a trip to the emergency room.  The in-between part is a little fuzzy.  I remember walking away to calm down and think rationally about what needed to be done while D sat alongside the victim trying to see up her nose.

After I decided that it needed to be the hospital instead of the clinic, we executed our mission pretty fast.  A short drive, a short wait and in to see the doctor.  While J sat in the chair, I explained to the medical student attending us what had happened.  She hunted for an instrument for a few moments, then went to bring her supervisor.  In walked the doc.  He chuckled at our story and assured me that we weren't the first to come in for that reason.  Then he turned to the student and asked, "Have you ever seen the oxygen trick."  "No, can't say that I have," she responded.  He then explained to the two of us how it worked.  Afterwards performed the trick on my daughter.  Here's how it went.

He took a tube of running oxygen, had me close J's mouth with my hand, and quickly placed the tube over the nostril without the bead.  The next instant, a smooth, perfectly round, golden bead shot across the room.  Shot.  Across.  The.  Room.  I kid you not - it was like a gunshot but without the explosive sound.  It rebounded off the wall toward us and eventually rolled under our chair.  I have never seen a human propel anything quite like that.  It was amazing.  All that in an hour.  

I will remember the oxygen trick.  (Thank you, doc!)  Hopefully I'll never need that knowledge again.  Gah!  

As you can tell, my daughter is a true masterpiece.  Yesterday, she came bouncing out of her room, curls spring-spronging everywhere, as she commanded, "Look at my new pjs, Mama -  I am a zebra!"  Indeed she was with striped pants and zebra adorned shirt.  

With all her precociousness, the first thing that strikes you with J is her hair.  She can't help it.  Tight curls streaked with blond each marching to the beat of a different drum - just like her.  Wild and free.  In a way, it's like a preview into her character.  She is tightly wound and likes to bounce.  What a fun girl she is.  Loves to snuggle, loves to laugh.  And never stops going.  

I've seen hair like hers before on two of my sisters, so she probably gets it from my side.  But my hair is just frizzy and puffy.  Kind of wish I had curls like that little lady.  And a personality to match.  With all her pouty faces, she can wrap her dad around her finger.  (I still haven't managed the trick...)  And mostly everyone else.  Mostly.  Me, no way.  I see right through that little monkey.  :)  She is a charmer though.  A real charmer.  Her middle name is trouble with a capital T.  I confess, I am worried for her future.  I mean, look at that face!  At least I know she can take care of unwanted attention.  I mean, not every kid can shoot beads from her nose.  


Before I sign off for today, I though I'd share some art.  I haven't been very diligent with posting artwork these past few weeks.  It's not because art hasn't been a part of our lives, it's just that I haven't always been able to file it in my sketchbook.  My art is for the kids these days.  Constructing houses from recycled boxes, sketching cars for little handmade books, drawing ladybugs on posters.  That kind of stuff.  It's just part of the rhythm of our lives.  Sometimes I have the time to sit down and draw for myself.  Sometimes I don't, but usually because I've chosen to do something else, or indulged art in other forms.  (I consider crocheting art.)  I believe this is a healthy rhythm for our family, a flexible one.  We have structure, but it is a fluid structure.  Never demanding, never stress-producing.  

Art really is a part of our daily life.  M started drawing dinosaurs and human skeletons (it's not morbid - he is obsessed with the human body).  The two older ones love cutting, gluing, stencilling, doodling, and just getting right into the process.  That may or may not gift me with the space I need to do likewise.  It depends on my priorities for the day.  (Dinner really does get first dibs.)

22 October 2014

Owl Hats Yarn Along

I am still crocheting those owl hats.  I had put them aside this past week, which means now I feel compelled to pick them up.  (Even guilt has its purposes...)  The colours don't show up as vividly in my photos, but they are very fun colours.  I also purchased some yarn to start a Christmas gift - a Rapunzel hat.  There are lots out there, but I haven't decided how it will look.  That'll be fun to mull over while I work on these owlies.

Currently I am reading (er, re-reading) Jane Eyre.  I am a bit of a romantic at heart, and this classic is a nice book to sit down to when I need to "turn off" or relax.  I am also reading (two books, I know!) The Spiritual Life by St. Theophan the Recluse.  It is profound.  Every sentence is full of wisdom and revelation.  It is deep enough that I can only get through a few pages at a time.  This book needs heavy reflection and digestion.  And yet, for all that, it's become one of my favourites.

And because I haven't remembered to before, and because it's been such a long time between recipe posts, and because they're just perfect for any occasion, I am posting the recipe for those chocolate chip cookies from last week.


1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda + 2 tsp hot water
3 cups flour
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Cream sugars and butter together.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well.  Add vanilla.  Mix salt and flour together separately.  Add to butter mixture and blend well.  In a small cup, mix baking soda with hot water and add to dough, mixing well.  Add chocolate chips and stir until uniformly combined.  Scoop rounded teaspoons onto a baking sheet and bake for about 10-12 minutes.  (If your cookies are larger, they'll need to bake longer.)  Let cool before eating or storing.

Joining Ginny and friends for this week's Yarn Along.  

18 October 2014


The kitchen is the heartbeat of our home.  There is always something going on here.  Always a gathering of bodies, food and projects.  Here are some of the things we've been up to during the week...

*                      *                         *                          *                     *                       *                       *

:: Basted turkey with oven roasted vegetables.  Very Thanksgiving-y.  :)  

:: Just loving being able to sit down with this machine.  Such a treat.  My mom and I went out to fabricland together and I got my hands on some polar fleece to line the hats.  I also couldn't resist the gorgeous blue gingham I found at the end.  It was begging to be made into a summer dress...

:: It feels like we went overboard with sweets this week.  Maybe not overboard, but certainly more than usual.  First try for these yeast donuts.  They were good - even better when filled with Nutella.  :)  The chocolate chip cookies were, of course, a hit with the kids.  What better way to use up leftover white chocolate chips!  I must say though, they are even better with M&Ms.  Just saying.  

:: Lego is his passion. He made that battleship all by himself.  Including the catapult.  Amazing.    

Joining Heather and friends for This Week In My Kitchen blog hop. 

11 October 2014

Kitchenry and hot lemonade

I've been fighting off a terrible cold this whole week.  I finally succumbed - I mean completely and totally succumbed - on Friday.  I had nothing.  Not even a smidgen of energy.  Even now I am still out for the count.  A red, bleary eyed, snuffling, coughing, sneezing mess.  

God bless hot lemonade.  Hot water, lemon juice and a little sugar (sorry, I can't do without...).  It's actually kind of soothing, in a tough, raspy way.  (No, I am not making sense now, am I?)  Well anyhow, my husband swears by eating raw lemons and so far he's held out.  I can't do that.  So I drink them.  (Next best thing?)  

Needless to say I've been taking it easy these past few days.  A little crochet here, a little (umm, ok fine a lot of) reading there, some resting, lots of soup, lots of tea (and hot lemonades).  That's me anyhow.  The kids are still going full throttle.  It's tough for them to slow down for mom.  

Not to say that we haven't had happenings in our home and kitchen.  It's just much, much slower; much fewer culinary projects happening simultaneously.  Slow, slow, slow.  That's where I'm at.  Happily, I did manage to make that apple custard pie for tomorrow's Thanksgiving feast.  Small victories.  (I will post the recipe someday - it is probably the best apple pie we've ever had.)  

Happy Thanksgiving, fellow Canadians!

6 October 2014

Hopping around the world

Yesterday I was tagged in a question and answer type blog hop by Kim at Mothering with Mindfulness.  She is a gem of a lady - so focused on living naturally with the seasons.  Her knitting is superb and she even makes her own body butter.  (My hero!)

Alrighty.  Here goes.

What am I working on?

That's a loaded question, indeed!  Generally, I work on a few things at a time - a project with the kids, something for myself when I need a minute to chill, .  More specifically, I am currently working on two messenger bags (can't post photos yet as they are Christmas gifts), 3 jars of lacto-fermented pickles, two crochet owl hats, a byzantine angel pencil sketch, salt dough ornaments that need decorating and a random swath of stockinette stitch (for knitting practice).  I have some projects on hold, but I guess they don't count.  I enjoy having a variety of creations I can jump to if I need a moment of pause on something else.

How does my work differ from others?

I think just in flavour.  Most of what I do others do and have been doing for hundreds, even thousands of years.  I follow the footsteps of my parents, grandparents, and their ancestors.  But I'd like to think that what I make has a least a small bit of unique flavour.  A smidgen of me woven through the threads.  My thoughts;  a crooked line or too small stitch; different colour or fabric combinations; love.

Why do I create what I do?

Well, this whole making things deal has been a part of my life from childhood.  It's a joy to use my own hands and make something utilitarian, beautiful or fun.  And it became more intense when I had my own kiddies.  It actually feels almost like an unconscious imitation of the Omnipotent Creator.  In whatever capacity, I think every human being is driven to create something.  My interest, passions and circumstances have led me here: yarn, paint, food, fabric.  (And everything in-between.)

Besides giving me immense satisfaction, I also feel that it makes life simpler.  And slower.  It's something I had to experience to really understand.  

How does my creative process work?

Sometimes with Pinterest.  (Oh, Pinterest, how I do love thee!  Let me count the ways...)  Sometimes I'll stumble upon an idea trolling through favourite blogs.  Sometimes inspiration strikes.  And sometimes just plain old necessity comes knocking.  However it starts off, the beginning is usually messy.  Lots of scraps, smudges and ripped out rows.  Always worth any frustrations in the end.  

Thanks so much, Kim for your invitation to this blog hop.  I would like to invite three ladies, whom I have yet to meet, to keep the ball rolling and share their stories.  

Honestly, I love following their blogs and being inspired daily by their creativity!  Check out their spaces and see what marvellous things these talented ladies can do!!